Originally created 05/18/99

Avery signs with agent



Any notion that William Avery might return to Duke has ended since the former Westside High player has signed with an agent.

Representing Avery is Jeff Austin, the director of basketball for Advantage International, Inc., a sports management and marketing firm out of McLean, Va.

Among those in Advantage's basketball stable are San Antonio's David Robinson and Utah's Greg Ostertag. Austin also has signed Maryland's Laron Profit and New Mexico's Kenny Thomas from this year's class of eligible seniors. Austin is the husband of Denise Austin, a noted television fitness guru.

Avery announced April 19 his intention to forgo his final two years of eligibility at Duke, against coach Mike Krzyzewski's wishes. Avery did so with unnamed advisers telling him that he would be a lottery selection.

But with 16 early entries into the draft, along with a decent class of seniors, NBA draft analysts now project Avery as high as 15th and as low as 28th. He is projected as the draft's fifth-best point guard behind Arizona's Jason Terry, Utah's Andre Miller, UCLA's Baron Davis and Maryland's Steve Francis.

Also declared early are Georgia's Jumaine Jones and Georgia Tech's Dion Glover. Neither had signed with an agent as of Monday. Unless they do, they could pull out of the draft as late as June 23, the day of the draft, and return to school.

On Monday, Rhode Island's 6-10 Lamar Odom and high school star Jonathan Bender of Picayune, Miss., said they had met the deadline for the draft.